Living Sustainably: Skilled workers needed to sustain local manufacturing

By Jennifer Owens, Lakeshore Advantage
The Lakeshore region is driven by manufacturing. Nearly one quarter of the jobs in Ottawa County are manufacturing-based, which is almost three times higher than the national average. Many of these jobs require skills, certification and training beyond high school, but not necessarily a college degree. Yet, the average wage in manufacturing is significantly higher than the average income.
As we found by interviewing 100 local company executives last year, 75 percent of these businesses plan to expand in the next three years. But more than half said there are barriers to growing here, citing the need to secure talent, particularly skilled trade workers and engineers, as their number-one issue.
Our current talent pipeline is not sustainable for our employers’ future growth. It takes actions, perception changes, investment and everyone working together to create a sustainable economic future for our employers and citizens. The good news is significant forward motion is occurring in our region.
This year, 57 local companies will receive $2.4 million to train their workforce and help fill their talent gaps through the State of Michigan’s Skilled Trade Training fund. This funding, administered by West Michigan Works!, helps to provide transferable skills to new and existing employees in high demand careers like CNC machinists, welders, carpenters and electricians.

Lakeshore Advantage and West Michigan Works! are bringing the “Hot Jobs” report and wage information to life for teachers by sharing skills, competencies and education levels needed for the most in-demand careers, along with what they pay. Last year, we shared this information with more than 300 teachers in the lakeshore region.
These are great strides, but we have more work to do. Continued forward progress will take a strong partnership between our employers and school districts to ensure the incredible career exploration programs, like those offered at the Ottawa Intermediate Area School District Careerline Tech Center, are led by strong manufacturing mentors.
Progress will also require a shift in the minds of parents to recognize that earning an advanced certification in a program like welding is just as significant and lucrative an accomplishment as earning a college degree. As parents, educators, peer students and citizens, we must recognize manufacturing and skilled trade jobs as fruitful career choices with potential and opportunity to thrive in our community and professionally.
A sustainable economic future is one in which individuals are successful as their interests match their education levels, skills and careers; in which our companies grow as their talent needs are met, and in which our region experiences a vibrant economy with great jobs now and in the future. For everyone.

 Jennifer Owens has been president since 2013 of Lakeshore Advantage, a non-profit economic development organization that connects businesses to the resources they need to grow in Ottawa County, northern Allegan County and West Michigan.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Economic Development: Businesses and the local consumers are driving engines that generate capital for growth and development. We want to be a location of choice for new business and industry.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.

February 2018 Sustainability News

February 2018

February 28, 2018 – A supermarket in Amsterdam has an aisle with more than 700 grocery items – and no plastic

February 28, 2018 – Hope College to host lecture on climate change psychology

February 27, 2018 – Some Christians are cutting carbon for Lent:  Instead of giving up luxuries, they’re reducing pollution.

February 27, 2018 – How Skipping Hotel Housekeeping Can Help the Environment and Your Wallet

February 26, 2018 – Hope College’s RecycleMania limits landfill waste

February 26, 2018 – Upcoming series will focus on urban planning

February 26, 2018 – Coal exec sued John Oliver for calling him a ‘geriatric Dr. Evil.’ A judge tossed the case.

February 26, 2018 – Letter: Success for businesses, but at what cost?

February 26, 2018 – Mountains of trash left behind by hurricanes inflame debate in US Virgin Islands

February 25, 2018 – Holland-area schools, businesses form manufacturing partnerships

February 25, 2018 – Are hidden leaks damaging your home, boosting water bills and harming the environment?

February 25, 2018 – North American energy trade boosts our economic and energy security

February 24, 2018 – Out on the Lakeshore sees growth within first year

February 24, 2018 – My Take: Predicting the tax law’s impact on charitable giving

February 23, 2018 – State of emergency declared in Ottawa County due to flooding

February 22, 2018 – Minister urges Christians to act on climate:  ‘Love of God and neighbor means that we have to honor creation and care for it,’ she says.

February 22, 2018 – Shelters open amid Midwest flooding as rivers keep rising

February 22, 2018 – Garcia, Lilly sponsor teacher prep bills


February 21, 2018 – ‘Little Miss Flint’ helped hundreds of underprivileged kids see ‘Black Panther’

February 21, 2018 – How Patagonia Grows Every Time It Amplifies Its Social Mission: CEO Rose Marcario, who leads the apparel player, a 2018 World’s Most Innovative Company, has catalyzed the shifting political tides to Patagonia’s benefit.

February 21, 2018 – Will and Jaden Smith create eco-friendly water company: Just

February 21, 2018 – Swap these 4 food fads with nutritious kitchen staples

February 20, 2018 – Hope lecture addresses racial achievement gaps in higher ed

February 20, 2018 – Trump’s EPA budget touches on GenX, other chemicals

February 19, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  CareerLine Tech’s EcoLeaders tackle plastic pollution

February 19, 2018 – Consumers Energy Announces Clean Energy Breakthrough Goal: 80 Percent Reduction in Carbon Emissions, Zero Coal by 2040

February 19, 2018 – ASHRAE Publishes Advanced Energy Design Guide for K-12 School Buildings

February 19, 2018 – APNewsBreak: Consumers Energy to stop burning coal by 2040

February 18, 2018 – Trump again will try to cut energy assistance to the poor

February 17, 2018 – Farmers confront too much milk, low prices

February 17, 2018 – The WeWork Manifesto: First, Office Space. Next, the World.

February 17, 2018 – ‘E-waste’ recycling innovator faces prison for trying to extend life span of PCs

February 15, 2018 – What to Give Up for Lent? Smoking? Cursing? How About Plastic?

February 15, 2018 – Extreme poverty in America: read the UN special monitor’s report

February 15, 2018 – Michigan tax tribunal sees case on solar energy systems

February 15, 2018 – Greening Mardi Gras: Recycling effort targets parade trash

February 13, 3018 – As electric vehicles gain favor, utilities can accelerate EV adoption

February 13, 2018 – Local environmental groups react to Governor Snyder’s refusal to shut down Line 5

February 12, 2018 – Trump Administration Wants To Decide What Food SNAP Recipients Will Get

February 12, 2018 – Living Sustainably: Awards event honors Lakeshore sustainability stars

February 12, 2018 – Q&A: How is the growth of bitcoin affecting the environment?

February 11, 2018 – Local First awards Holland businesses, nonprofits

February 8, 2018 – Places Where Americans Live the Most Balanced Lifestyles (Grand Rapids Area is listed at #1)

February 8, 2018 – EPA’s Scott Pruitt asks whether global warming ‘necessarily is a bad thing’

February 8, 2018 – Our Kids Can Save The Planet — If We Teach Them How

February 8, 2018 – Holland residents discuss sustainable policing efforts

February 8, 2018 – Holland Energy Park allows for snow melt expansion and a lesson on sustainable energy

February 7, 2018 – Meijer Simply Give Program Set Record Year: At Least 84.8M Meals

February 7, 2018 – Why feedback loops are one of the most troubling parts of global warming

February 6, 2018 – Ottawa County Accepting Applications for Farmland Preservation

February 6, 2018 – How climate change is endangering the Winter Olympics

February 6, 2018 – $2.1M Economic Development Administration grant to aid local businesses

February 6, 2018 – App lets Californians collect cash for saving energy

February 5, 2018 – Living Sustainably: Sowmelt sustains a healthier Holland

February 5, 2018 – Holland Receives Distinguished Budget Presentation Award

February 5, 2018 – Florida Keys to raise roads before climate change puts them underwater. It won’t be cheap

February 5, 2018 – Climate change could be bad for your coffee

February 5, 2018 – Biodegradable Plastics: Yes or No?

February 4, 2018 – Sticky piles of toxic PFAS foam plaguing Michigan lake

February 4, 2018 – Top trends to inspire your outdoor living

February 4, 2018 – Take a trip with DeGraaf Nature Center

February 4, 2018 – New research tackles Great Lakes regional problems

February 4, 2018 – Esther J. Cepeda: Your children need your unplugged attention

February 4, 2018 – Area businesses, governments adding solar panels

February 2, 2018 – Paper, bamboo, Twizzlers: Restaurants consider alternatives to the plastic straw

February 1, 2018 – Michigan Survey Finds Strong Bipartisan Support For Solar 

February 1, 2018 – Here’s How Trump’s Tariffs Will Hurt Solar Growth

February 1, 2018 – On the Road with Rick Holmes: Holding off extinction

February 1, 2018 – Local First to hold LocalMotion Awards

February 1, 2018 – Solar Helps Boost Renewables to Another Record Year

February 1, 2018 – Local Partners Developing Real-Time Watershed Monitoring System for Project Clarity

February 1, 2018 – Ottawa County Parks paves way for 35-mile pathway from lakeshore to Grand Rapids

Living Sustainably: Awards event honors Lakeshore sustainability stars

By Hanna Schulze and Michelle Gibbs Local First and Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute

A first-time event in Holland, the Local First Lakeshore Annual Meeting, included honors for five different businesses, projects and individuals for their support of local business and sustainability.

Five awards recognizing business and individual efforts supporting local initiatives and sustainability were presented Thursday, Feb. 8, when Local First hosted its inaugural Lakeshore Annual Meeting.  The event was held for the first time in Holland to recognize the growing number of businesses on the Lakeshore that are working toward positive change in West Michigan.

Local First has been hosting an annual meeting in Grand Rapids since 2010. It’s a platform to honor those that contribute to the local economy and act as stewards of the environment and the people in their community, and some Holland businesses have been honored there in the past.

This year, Local First was excited to partner with the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute and Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance to honor a larger group of Lakeshore businesses.  The event, presented by EPS Security, was held at the CityFlats Hotel.

Local First’s LocalMotion Awards were presented in three categories.  
Best for the Environment – for measuring energy use, water use, and general carbon footprint and for sourcing local to cut down on shipping, as well as participating in energy efficiency programs:
 Finalists – Lemonjello’s, Country Winds Creamery
 Winner – EcoBuns Baby & Co.

Best for Employees – for institutional policies that allow for better quality of life for employees, such as health benefits, retirement savings, paid volunteer time, maternity/paternity leave, and regular performance reviews:
 Finalists – Higher Health Chiropractic, Visser Farms
 Winner – Community Foundation of Holland/Zeeland

Best for the Community – for giving back to the community by donating time or resources to non-profit partners, providing community education, and investing in infrastructure or amenities that create a more inclusive, welcoming place:
 Finalists – Globe Design and Vision, Betterway Imports
 Winner – The Bridge

The Project Clarity team was among those honored Thursday evening for sustainability efforts. Michelle Gibbs presents the award to, at left, Travis Williams, Lynn Kotecki, Rob Vink, David
Nyitray, Kelly Goward, Dan Callam, and Alison Brink.

Thursday the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute also inaugurated a new award recognizing a top community project. It recognized the outstanding work of Project Clarity to create a more sustainable community through education and engagement activities.   The goal of Project Clarity is to “restore the water quality of Lake Macatawa and the Macatawa Watershed. The multi-phased approach provides solutions focused on land restoration, Best Management Practices (BMPs), community education, and long term sustainability.”

And finally, for nearly a decade, Local First annually has honored one individual with the Guy Bazzani Local Legacy Award, named after the organizations’ founder emeritus. The award recognizes contributions to the local community, dedication to economic and environmental sustainability, and embodiment of the mission to live local.  This year, with a new Lakeshore area Legacy Award, the group recognized Holland resident Paul Lilly.

Lilly has been an integral part of the sustainability movement in Holland since he opened his business, Lakeshore Cleaning and Facilities Service, in 2002. Since 2008, Paul has served on the board of the Holland Community Sustainability Committee, which develops and promotes Holland’s energy strategy. Among his many volunteer leadership positions, Paul has served on the Pastoral Council at Our Lady of the Lake Parish, and has given countless hours of service to sustainability initiatives across the region.

Event photos can be found here.

 Hanna Schulze is the program and fund development manager at Local First.  Michelle Gibbs is the director of the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Economic Development: The business and local consumer are the driving engines to generate capital for growth and development. We want to be a location of choice for new businesses and industry.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.

Living Sustainably: No Snow, Snow Kidding!

By Michelle Gibbs, Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute

Central Avenue and sidewalks along Centennial Park are free of snow thanks to the snowmelt system. Photo courtesy City of Holland

Did you know, in the City of Holland we have the largest municipal snowmelt system in the United States?
After the recent expansion, the system provides more than 600,000 square feet of heated sidewalks and streets. Personally, I love walking around downtown and not worrying about slipping on the ice or having my shoes ruined by the snow and salt, but did you know there are many other benefits to this unique system?
Here is the story of that system – how it came to be, how it works, and its benefits to our community economically, socially, and environmentally.
History:  We have enjoyed the benefits of the snowmelt system since 1988 thanks in large part to Edgar D. Prince, Prince Corp. founder, who brought the idea of the snowmelt system to city officials after a visit to Europe. Over the years, the system has expanded to meet growing needs of the community.

Some 190 miles of tubing carry warm water beneath Holland streets and sidewalks. Photo courtesy City of Holland

How it works: Excess heat from generating electricity at the Holland Energy Park is captured in the cooling tower, and warm water is pumped through a large underground pipe to downtown Holland. The water is then circulated through 190 miles of smaller tubing. This closed loop system means the same water is circulated over and over again at 95 degrees Fahrenheit. In the past, the system pulled its water from Lake Mactawa, but switching to a closed loop system reduces sediment and wear on system valves.
Economics: In the late 1980s and the 1990s, the snowmelt system played a part in the revitalization of Holland’s downtown. Business owners rallied with the city and Holland Board of Public Works to create a vision for an attractive, snowfree downtown, and the system became a part of that vision to help our community grow. Our downtown now offers a variety of stores, boutiques, restaurants, galleries, and even a winter farmers market.
Socially:  The snowmelt system helps bring people together, as even on the coldest of days you still find people downtown. A number of community groups even meet downtown so they can walk or run without the fear of slipping. The recent system expansion helped connect downtown to the farmers market area near the Civic Center, Herrick District Library, police department, and various parking areas.

A view from above shows the pattern of snowfree streets and sidewalks in Holland. Photo courtesy City of Holland

Environmentally:   Typical power generation systems discharge their waste hot water to the environment; however, the closed loop system greatly reduces the discharge to local bodies of water. Another environmental benefit is the reduced use of salt to melt ice and snow. “Salt is a pollutant that is harmful to fish and wildlife, so we are always happy to see a reduction in its use,” notes the  Macatawa Watershed Project.
Holland Energy Park has the potential to support a snowmelt system five times the current size and to provide additional community resources such as district heating for downtown buildings. The Civic Center is set to be the first building in Holland heated with support from water from the snowmelt system, making it very energy efficient.
Snowmelt has become a part of our identity and is one of the ways Holland continues to “make big ideas come alive.”

WZZM 13 News Segment on Holland’s Snowmelt

To learn more about this unique resource, please click the links below to see photos, videos, and maps of the system:

 Michelle Gibbs is the director of the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute.  The vision for the Institute is a healthy and economically vibrant community that promotes environmental stewardship and mutual respect for people and  the planet.  Our mission is to foster collaborative efforts to infuse sustainability into the minds and practices of the greater Holland community.

Snowmelt by the Numbers:
 4.9 miles of heated streets and sidewalks
 114,000 square feet of streets are warmed
 534,000 square feet of sidewalks and parking lots are warmed
 5,500 gallons of water per minute pumps through the system
 Melts about 1 inch of snow per hour at 20 degrees with light winds

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Transportation: The movement of people, goods, and services within the area links us to our regional, national and global networks.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.

January 2018 Sustainability News

January 2018 News

January 31, 2018 – Affordable Tech Marvels Dominate Greenest Vehicles List

January 31, 2018 – AT&T and Verizon Pressured to Match T-Mobile’s 100% Renewable Energy Pledge

January 31, 2018 – Why bike share makes sense as a library resource

January 31, 2018 – White House to ask for 72 percent cut in renewable energy programs: report

January 30, 2018 – Gov. Rick Snyder announces proposal to help renew Michigan’s environment

January 29, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Community policing is sustainability session topic

January 29, 2018 – How healthy is Ottawa County? Find out and join the conversation 

January 29, 2018 – Turning to beet juice and beer to address road salt danger

January 28, 2018 – Michigan Roll Call: See how your legislators are voting in Lansing

January 28, 2018 – Ottawa, Allegan unemployment near lowest in state

January 28, 2018 – A New Year’s Resolution for Everyone: Battery Recycling

January 28, 2018 – Road commissions caution drivers of potholes

January 27, 2018 – A fantastic Super Bowl party that’s … plant-based?

January 27, 2018 – Holland council wants many involved in James DeYoung site planning

January 26, 2018 – City of Holland Human Relations Commission Announces 2017 SOCIAL JUSTICE AWARDS and “I HAVE A DREAM” Essay Winners

January 26, 2018 – Budweiser’s Super Bowl Beer Ad Isn’t about Beer

January 26, 2018 – Pennsylvania rep talks Trump, farm bill, immigration

January 26, 2018 – Hulu Migrates Data Centers To 100% Renewable Energy Facility

January 25, 2018 – Administrator talks issues, initiatives in State of Ottawa County address


January 22, 2018 – Students thrive in Robinson Elementary STEM program

January 21, 2018 – Living Sustainably:  Energy prize competition results in change for Holland

January 21, 2018 – LG Chem continues growth, hiring despite tight talent pool

January 20, 2018 – Lakeshore Advantage gives BPW Energy Park pioneers Visionary Award

January 20, 2018 – Why Am I Marching Tomorrow?

January 19, 2018 – Big Give announces nonprofit recipients

January 19, 2018 – H&M faced backlash over its ‘monkey’ sweatshirt ad, but it isn’t the company’s only controversy

January 18, 2018 – Wind energy sets sail on the Great Lakes


January 16, 2018 – Ben & Jerry’s Debuts Two New Vegan Ice Cream Flavors

January 15, 2018 – Biodiversity Could Be As Important As Climate For Healthy Ecosystems

January 12, 2018 – Inclusion and Equity: LEDA

January 11, 2018 – A Greener, More Healthful Place to Work

January 11, 2018 – GR nonprofit to give $100K in ‘100 Ideas’ campaign

January 9, 2018 – In Michigan, solar growth meets uncertainty with end of net metering

January 9, 2018 – Jubilee, Homecor plan another housing project in Holland

January 8, 2018 – Living Sustainably: Group launches spring sustainability series

January 8, 2018 – Top 10 Movers And Shakers In Sustainability – 2017

January 8, 2018 – Wetland Meadows Help Cities Stare Down Climate Risk

January 7, 2018 – The Sentinel revisits the top stories of 2017

January 7, 2018 – Commentary: Kids don’t need a cellphone; they need a digital diet

January 7, 2018 – Many High-Profile Actresses Are Bringing Activists to the Golden Globes

January 6, 2018 – What ‘healthy’ looks like in 2018: Vegetables and proteins

January 6, 2018 – Online map aims to make poverty data more accessible

January 5, 2018 – Nikola Tesla’s extraordinary impact still felt decades later

January 5, 2018 – Legal action regarding Weaver House deck collapse pending

January 5, 2018 – Superfund work touted by Trump EPA was completed years ago

January 5, 2018 – Outdoors Winter Market opens Saturday

January 5, 2018 – Supply chain company relocates US headquarters

January 4, 2018 – Lending green: New credit union offers loans solely for eco-friendly projects

January 4, 2018 – Trump moves to vastly expand offshore drilling

January 3, 2018 – Northeastern States Sue EPA To Protect Them From Ozone Pollution

January 3, 2018 – Ann Arbor’s new clean-energy goal: go 100% renewable by 2035

January 2, 2018 – West Michigan companies shine in Newsweek’s ‘Green Rankings’

January 2, 2018 – Growth Rate of Bioplastics Could Erode Demand for Oil

January 2, 2018 – Q&A: How is the growth of bitcoin affecting the environment?

January 2, 2018 – Commentary: We don’t need oil from the Arctic Wildlife Refuge

January 2, 2018 – Fashion in 2018 | 08. Sustainability Credibility

January 2, 2018 – Our View: Sentinel establishes ethics, transparency guidelines

January 2, 2018 – Seven Cost-Saving Sustainability Ideas for 2018

January 1, 2018 – Living Sustainably: Understanding funding for a stronger community


Living Sustainably: Community Policing is Sustainability Session Topic

By Penny Shuff, League of Women Voters of the Holland Area
A safe but also friendly community is an essential part of creating sustainable quality of life. But can we maintain both a safe and secure environment while also being a warm and welcoming community?
The Holland Police Department’s approach to community policing will be the focus of the next installment of the Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore continuing education series, with a discussion titled “Community Policing for Peaceful Living.”

Serving ice cream at public events is one of the ways the community policing program seeks to build relationships to boost quality of life in Holland.

The concept of community policing has been around for decades, and the Holland Department of Public Safety has been engaged in this approach for 20 years. Sgt. Larry Matzen leads the Holland police program and says the idea is to create better relationships in the community with people from all walks of life. “Intimately knowing our families and the people we serve is key to building trust,” Matzen said. He explained that community officers are dedicated to the complex task of gaining trust by getting to know the needs of the citizens they serve.

The program on Feb. 6 will be a chance to find out more from Matzen about techniques used by the Holland police to cultivate good relationships with every citizen and especially with residents of our diverse populations. Did you know Holland community police officers will make time to replace a broken tail light? Can you guess how many people were served ice cream last summer by community officers as they were getting better acquainted with their neighbors? These are just some examples Matzen will discuss.
Matzen said Holland is a small town dealing with many of the same issues facing larger cities and every police department needs the public’s help in preventing and solving crimes.
 Hear how community policing is working to establish trust between local law enforcement and all citizens so eyewitnesses feel comfortable coming forward. This relationship is key to solving crimes and keeping all residents safe.
Matzen will explain how community police officers are specially trained based upon long-term research in law enforcement studies, and he will discuss the unique support these officers have from the Holland police chief. He also will talk about whether or not body cameras are working and how police generally feel about wearing cameras. Information on what every driver should know if they are ever pulled over by police will also be available.
In large and small ways, the goal of community policing is to break down barriers and create an environment where trust is a two-way street between Holland law enforcement and the citizens they serve.
Join us for a unique discussion with Sgt. Matzen at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 6, at Herrick District Library.

 Penny Shuff is public relations director for the League of Women Voters of the Holland Area, a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.

What: Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore Series
Topic: “Community Policing for Peaceful Living”
When: 6:30 to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 6
Where: Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave., Holland

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Quality of Life: The community, through governmental, religious, business and social organizations, makes decisions that contribute to its own well-being.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.

Living Sustainably: Group launches spring sustainability series

By Michelle Gibbs, Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute
Do you want to learn more about what is happening in the community?  The spring 2018 Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore series has announced another great line-up, full of educational events sharing how Holland is becoming a more sustainable community.

Holland Michigan Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore
The series will continue to share information about work as it relates to the city’s Sustainability Framework. All of the events, with the exception of May, will take place on a Tuesday at Herrick District Library from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Here’s this spring’s lineup:

 “Economic Development: Sustainable Government,” Tuesday, Jan. 9:  This program will explore sources of local government funds and review the city and county budget process and near-term and long-term needs within the community.
 “Quality of Life: Community Policing for Peaceful Living,” Tuesday, Feb. 6:  A safe and friendly community is essential to our sense of well-being and quality of life. How does the Holland Police Department’s community policing approach help local residents of all walks of life find life satisfaction? Our discussion will address fair and equitable interactions and the needs of our community.
 “Community Knowledge: Planting and Saving Seeds,” Tuesday, March 6:  Ben Cohen, sustainable homesteader and proprietor of Small House Farm, is an heirloom seed activist and educator. He is passionate about growing food and will discuss why planting, saving, and sharing seeds is essential to the cultivation of sustainable neighborhoods, healthy communities and the preservation of history. This event coincides with the launch of Herrick District Library’s seed saving library.
 “Environmental Awareness/Action: Fly Fishing,” Tuesday, April 24:  For over 100 years, fly fishermen have been leaders in the watershed conservation movement. Local author Jon Osborn and illustrator Joe Van Faasen, of the book “Classic Michigan Flies: 16 Legendary Patterns,” will speak about Michigan’s fly fishing heritage.
 “Transportation: Green Commute Expo,” Friday, May 18 (Special Friday event, 6 to 7:30 p.m.)   As part of the Macatawa Area Coordinating Council’s Green Commute Week (May 13-19), the expo will include a presentation about green commute options in the Holland/Zeeland area and the role transportation plays in the 40-Year Community Energy Plan, followed by fun, hands-on activities for the whole family.
This series of free educational events began in the fall of 2014. Our mission is to educate and empower citizens to live more sustainably.

The series is sponsored by: City of Holland and its Sustainability Committee’s efforts;; Herrick District Library and its adult programming; Hope College through the Sustainability Institute; the League of Women Voters; the Meijer Campus of Grand Valley State University’s sustainability program; and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.  For more information visit the Events section at or follow us on Facebook at Living Sustainably Along the Lakeshore.

 Michelle Gibbs, is the director of the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute (HHCSI).  The vision for the HHCSI is a healthy and economically vibrant community that promotes environmental stewardship and mutual respect for people and the planet.  Our mission is to foster collaborative efforts to infuse sustainability into the minds and practices of the greater Holland community.

Holland’s Sustainability Framework includes seven topics related to how sustainability awareness can improve our community’s future.
 Smart energy
 Economic development
 Transportation
 Community & neighborhood
 Quality of life
 Community knowledge
 Environmental action & awareness

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community Knowledge: The collective knowledge of the community is an incredible resource, that knowledge and energy must be channeled to where it is needed.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.